When we have clients at Carework that are hiring 60 caregivers a month, how are we getting those results?
This is a common question we are asked by home care agency owners often on personal consults.
Scalable growth is all about creating a scalable caregiver recruiting process. We work with agencies that are brand new. We work with agencies that are doing over 10 million a year in revenue. The process for the beginning agency, brand new, with no clients, and the $10 million-a-year agency is nearly the same. It's just a matter of volume.
There is no secret only unlocked with a certain level of growth. It's the opposite. You don't hit that level of growth until you figure out your recruiting and retention process.
First off, please download THIS PDF because I am going to walk you through some activities and I want you to do them along with me.
Let's go ahead and start talking about the basics of caregiver recruiting. We want to measure and improve every step of the hiring process so that you can hire more caregivers and grow your business. I know there are plenty of agency owners are recruiters who are burnt out and think that this is impossible.
We're going to break it down step by step and help you scale your agency, and here's the foundation of how we do that.
At CareWork we have what we call a caregiver-first philosophy. This means we're going to prioritize the caregiver's needs and improve their experience at every step of building a caregiver-first hiring process. The reason for this is that we've gotten jaded as an industry and we still have some outdated mindsets. When you have an outdated mindset, it sounds like, “Well, if they don't want to fill out the application, they're probably not a hire that I wanted anyways.”
We want to break that old mindset because it is the caregiver's responsibility to get a job to pay their bills. It is not their responsibility to stop your agency.
It is your responsibility to make sure that the job that they get is with you.
So throughout the hiring process, we need to reframe that to believe it's not the caregiver's responsibility to make sure your agency is stocked. If they go somewhere else because they got a job faster because the job pays better or because it has the hours they want, that is entirely fair because we know most caregivers are living paycheck to paycheck, It is often that caregivers undergo great financial stress. In those times the difference between getting a job that they get started right away, or a job that you can maybe start next week is crucial.
We need to take out any judgment and we are not going to talk down about caregivers. It is their responsibility to pay their bills and feed their family. It is our responsibility to make it our agency that helps them do that,
What we find is a lot of agencies don't realize they have an agency-first hiring process. You likely do not realize that you have an agency-first process as it is the way you have always done things. In other words, it's more convenient. It helps you avoid wasted time.
As much as we understand how valuable your time is, the problem is a lot of times agencies are offloading the risk from themselves to the caregivers. For example, you schedule an interview and you don't require the documentation to be submitted ahead of the interview and you say you can send it to me ahead of time, but if not still come in from the interview. In this scenario, you are taking the risk because you might have a caregiver come in and interview, you might invest your time in them and they might not turn in their documents. So to avoid that, many agencies will say instead they have to submit their documents ahead of the interview.
What you actually did is took the wasted time risk and moved it from yourself to the caregiver, because now they're submitting documents for an agency that they don't know if they're going to get offered a job. They don't know if you have the shifts they need. They don't know exactly what their starting pay is going to be. So now you're asking them to risk wasted time so that you don't have to. And when we come back to whose responsibility is it to get them to work at your agency? It's not their responsibility, it's your responsibility, so you should be the one risking that wasted time.
Caregiver First Job Ad Audit
Listing Starting Pay
Listing Shifts Available
Listing All Benefits First, Responsibilities & History Second
Is it easy to apply for an interview? This one is harder because it is your whole hiring process. A caregiver's first hiring process moves very quickly. Every step is clearly defined and there are very few barriers to them moving forward. This is where things like documents, additional applications, etc. come into play.
Consider open scheduling. Whose schedule are you trying to best match?
Navigating through the orientation process can be quite an endeavor, demanding significant time and effort. It often entails the involvement of several office staff. If the orientation sessions are limited to once a week, caregivers applying on that specific day or the day after one might experience an approximately week-long wait until the next available orientation.
Let's talk about writing a good job ad. We wanna start strong, so we've talked about starting really strong. I love attention grabbers. At the very top of a job ad, I put a couple of quick statements in bold, non-sentence form.
I might say, “Pays $18 an hour, working as soon as next week, great career path!”
Quick Job Ad Writing Audit:
Short, Bold Titles
Mobile Phone Friendly
Easy to Read
Write Directly to Caregiver
No Copy/Paste Text
Finding out what caregivers need and are looking for is not a guessing game or a shot in the dark. I recommend asking your current caregivers and new hires why they chose their current job, and what they love about working with you. These are the things to highlight in your job ads and the benefits of advertising.
Evaluating your job ads by reviewing your cost per applicant and cost per hire is the first step in your hiring pipeline. This quickly will show you which of your job ads are performing best. Remember that evaluating your cost per hire is key because getting lots of applicants does not mean anything if they are not converting to hires.
I recommend sitting down monthly (at least) to go over your ads and move your budget around.
Let’s evaluate your hiring funnel and process.
Starting as an applicant, they book an interview, the interview is successful and hopefully, they get hired and they start working. Each step has time associated with it. What is your time between application to their first shirt? This is a KEY KPI to track.
So, what does your process look like? Do they need to fill out a questionnaire or job application in addition to their Indeed application? Do they need to turn in documents before the interview is scheduled? Do they need to wait for orientation? Do you need to call references before offering the job?
These are all good and reasonable and important things and steps to the hiring process.
However, we do not want to create roadblocks to the hiring process because we do not know the caregiver’s circumstances. They may have just lost a job and need to get working quickly. Another agency calls and offers them a position starting Monday where you’re agency needs documents turned in before getting an interview.
Where is that caregiver going to go? And would you not also go to the job with the shorter funnel?
Remember that these are not high-level jobs. These are not salaried positions where culture really matters and multiple interviews are necessary because they plan on being there for many years. Although I love that heart, a lot of agencies want the right fit but you cannot ask the caregiver to jump through hoops, not because they won’t do it, but because due to the nature of the job, they must get to work quickly.
Here are a few ideas for streamlining the caregiver recruiting process:
Schedule an extra 10-15 minutes at the interview for them to fill out any additional application and get enrolled into payroll software. Have a computer ready and available with someone available to answer any questions. Sending it ahead of time is fine, but this allows them to still come to the interview and get in the door.
Make document submission optional. Yes, I know that documents are important and you do not want to waste your time. Please do not allow this to lead to canceled interviews. Remember that for every person who schedules an interview, there are 3-4 people who never scheduled it.
Reference checking. I urge you not to withhold a job offer due to needing to check references. Go ahead and give them the job and move them forward. You can offer some paid training during this time and you might find after studying your ROI that you get a better cost per hire by streamlining your funnel and this will outweigh the additional cost of paid training.
We at Carework, love data. Data sets you free from the emotional rollercoaster and if you have been in home care hiring for a while, you are likely burnt out and stressed with the constant ebb and flow of caregivers. Tracking data gives you concrete evidence of what is working and what is not working. It takes the blame off specific people and helps you pinpoint the cause.
If you do not know your KPIs, you might increase your ad budget and still not get any more hires. This can lead to unnecessary spending when in reality, it is your funnel that is broken, and adding money to ads will not fix that. A lot of time I tell agencies that their problem is not a lack of applicants but more of a broken pipeline and broken conversions.
Everybody needs more caregivers, but not everybody needs the same strategies. Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that home care agencies is that when owners get together, they want to hear what is working for others. The problem with that is that each agency has its own struggle and caregiver hiring is NOT one size fits all and each needs a unique strategy.
I want to share a few data points to implement tracking today for even the most limited agency (due to budget, bandwidth, and tolerance to change):
Your number of applicants.
Your cost per applicant.
The number of booked interviews.
Cost per hire
This gives you a basic view of your recruiting funnel and if you track this every week which is what we recommend you can see these changes over time. You can make immediate adjustments before it impacts your hiring results. You can also forecast your future results.
So, how many applicants do you need? People ask me this all the time, like I'm getting 100 applicants, I'm getting 200 applicants, I'm getting 50 applicants. Well, it totally depends on your process. You're going to take your number of applicants divided by the number of hires and then multiply it by your number of desired hires. Let's say you got 10 hires or you want 10 hires a month. Last month you got 50 applicants and you made three hires. We're going to do 50 divided by three times 10 and come to a total number that you need 167 applicants.
Now, what do you do with this? Well, how much should you be spending on ads? You take that number of applicants needed and multiply it by your current cost per applicant. This will give you your target number of applicants and using the data you have on applicants, you can adjust your budget to meet that need.
Here it is, that is the secret. It's not the only secret, but that really is what we do over and over and over again with people…these are math problems. This is not a big, scary strategy, these are math problems. And then, once you have that data, then it's so easy to make a step-by-step plan. If you know the data and you know what the data means, you can make that plan and actually succeed, which is what we want to see.
Your market is your market, so what works for somebody in another agency may not work for you, and this is why I always say our training programs for recruiters are “teach a man to fish” programs.
Everybody on your team needs to understand the KPIs, understand what they mean, and have a regular rhythm for looking at them. That way, if a specific KPI is down, you know what that means, and how to fix it.
Use your data and if you're not sure about a new strategy, do a test. For example, you can, for the next 30 days not require the additional application and tracking if that improves your overall conversion enough to make it worth it.
After tracking long-term data, you can look back to past years and say, oh, you know what it is. For example, every year in August/September, it's more challenging because of back to school, the holidays or summer, etc. Then you can also see if you have a stagnant month and you look back and see that it is concerning because this month is typically a high month which is putting you behind for the year.
THIS is the power of data!
Stay tuned, next up is retention!
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